Audioengine A1-MR Summary
The Audioengine A1-MR is a compact bookshelf speaker with a lot more to offer than its size would suggest. These speakers are relatively affordable at around $200 and perform very well across most frequencies, though lacking in lower bass response, which will still suffice for most listeners without the addition of a subwoofer. The Wi-Fi support allows for easy home audio integration, though having both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support would have been a bonus.
The Audioengine A1-MR is a compact pair of bookshelf speakers with all the same features as the original A1 release but replaces Bluetooth connectivity with Wi-Fi support. This Wi-Fi version was released just over a year after the initial A1 and sought to provide better home audio pairing with the migration from Bluetooth, thanks to multiroom support, connecting the A1-MR with up to 11 other rooms.
As with most speakers with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi variants, you’re going to find that the best model for you is the one that best fits your home audio setup and lifestyle habits. The Bluetooth version may be more in line with their habits for many, but if you’re looking for a speaker that can integrate into your home audio and be controlled from outside the traditional Bluetooth range, the A1-MR is the better choice.
First Impressions of the A1-MR
The first thing that stood out when unboxing the Audioengine A1-MR was its small size. While I’ve always been aware of the compact nature of these speakers, I didn’t quite understand how small they are until I had them in hand. I recently tested the Edifier R1280T, which were already quite small speakers, but the A1-MR are about half the size.
The dark grey aesthetic of the speakers is versatile and meshes together well in most environments, whether paired with dark wood finishes or even white backdrops. Inside the box, you’ll find the two speakers, a power cable, a copper speaker wire, an RCA cable, and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm aux cable. There is then also a manual included.
Setting these speakers up is intuitive and quick. Getting the cables connected took no more than a few seconds, and just like that, they were ready to be placed on the desk and tested.
The Audioengine App
The Audioengine A1-MR uses Audioengine’s Control app, which is available on both iOS and Android. It is required to get your speakers connected to your Wi-Fi network. For this test, we used a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with Android 13 (One UI version 5.1).
Connecting to a Wi-Fi Network
After the basic cabling, the first step was to connect this speaker to the Wi-Fi network, which was a relatively simple procedure as well. This connection is made through the Audioengine Control app, which runs you through several prompts to get your speaker paired. If you have trouble finding the speaker during setup, make sure to press the transparent white ‘status’ button on the back of the primary speaker, which begins pairing mode.
Once I had completed the Wi-Fi connection, I was prompted with a firmware update which I opted to do. This firmware update took around 5 minutes to complete, including the reboot. Whereafter, I was returned to the main application page. Note that the speakers will give you an upgrade complete voice prompt when the speakers begin to reboot and install the update. Allow this process to finish before turning off the speakers or disconnecting the app – this reboot process can take another minute or two to complete.
The Audioengine mobile app has three primary tabs, the browse section (bottom left), the device section (bottom center), and the settings section (bottom right). The settings area is fairly limited and is mainly there to tell you about your firmware version and offer a way to contact Audioengine. The devices section is where you’ll manage your connected devices, which is particularly useful if you have multiple speakers connected to your Wi-Fi network. But the area where you’ll spend most of your time is in the browse section, which offers direct links to your music services, libraries, sources, and also your preset content.
One downside to the Audioengine app is the lack of EQ, which at times can feel like an important missing feature, albeit the A1-MR does well in providing a balanced sound.
The Build & Design
As mentioned, these are small speakers; at first glance, one could be forgiven for questioning their abilities. There’s no grille on these speakers, with the rather unassuming 2.75″ Aramid fiber woofers and 3/4” silk dome tweeters always visible. The black driver material contrasts well with the speaker’s finish to provide an appealing aesthetic.
The speaker design is extremely clean, with the controls and connections on the speaker’s rear. This isn’t without its own sacrifice, though, as it can be a little tougher to change the volume levels on the speaker (though this can always be done through the source device that you’re playing music from).
If one gets in close enough to inspect the finer details of the design, a few minor flaws are visible – but these will not go unnoticed without fairly thorough inspection in most cases. This is usually in the form of minor discoloration (see below). The speakers are not exceptionally light, but given their small size – the weight is still easily portable, and you can easily move these speakers between rooms.
Despite the limited size of the drivers in the Audioengine A1-MR, these speakers are still more than capable of producing some really impressive sound for their size. The Aramid fiber woofers are able to drive a lot of volume and can fill a medium-sized bedroom or office quite comfortably.
These speakers do particularly well in their upper-end response, with crisp and clean highs that are distinguished and vibrant. They sound extremely good with genres where there is a focus on brighter elements. They sound particularly enjoyable with genres like Bedroom Pop and other female-fronted vocals.
For the most part, the mid-range follows a similar pattern, though there is a little bit less brightness in some mixes in the midrange, which while very minor, can be picked up on by critical listeners. That’s not to take away from the overall quality midrange performance that these speakers deliver, which remains impressively balanced, with few troughs or peaks in the frequency response.
The biggest limitations with these speakers come from the low-end response. No matter how high quality the drivers are, at 2.75”, there’s only a certain amount of bass you’re going to be able to get. Because of that, if you’re looking for those bass notes that will make your computer screen vibrate, you’d benefit from the addition of a dedicated subwoofer, which is actually easy to add, with the Audioengine A1-MR offering a dedicated subwoofer port on the rear.
The bass sounded a little less balanced than the mid-tones to my ear, and some songs where I was expecting a heavy bass response seemed a little flat, while other tracks would see bass response peak in some areas.
It’s important to note that while the bass response could be better, it still exceeds what I’d expect from speakers of this size. Even if it doesn’t provide that aggressively low bass performance some look for, it still managed to fill out the bass range with enough depth to feel like you’re getting a good representation of the majority of the production.
Performance Across Genres
When reviewing these speakers, we analyzed their performance across several genres. Below is a detailed insight into which tracks we listened to and how they performed on those songs:
Snails by The Format
This song has a lot of focus on strings, acoustic guitar, and higher-pitched vocal range. The A1-MR brings out the depths of the song with the strings always present, carrying the emotions of the song. The bass guitar in the low end is very well balanced with both the vocals and strings. It’s hard to fault these speakers in the way they represent this song, and I feel this is the type of production that the A1-MR does best at.
Poison by Burgos
Poison follows the same hi-hat dominant sound that much modern hip-hop follows, stemming from the trap origins. Because this song features the washed-out emotional midrange in sections that stems from the Soundcloud rap scene, I was keen to see how the A1-MR handles the mix. The hi-hats are vibrant, and the bass, which while punchy, is not the widest. There is a trail off in presence towards the deep low end. The vocals are handled extremely well, and the song retains the essence of the mix, including the mood. Paired with a subwoofer, you’d be able to get a wider, more accurate representation of the mix.
Seven Years by Saosin
Seven Years is a heavier song with more electric guitar presence and screaming vocals. The clear singing comes across with a beautiful presence and clarity. The screaming sections do not come across as muddy, as some speakers often struggle with. There is a slight elevation towards the upper tones, and the bass is perhaps a little recessed – but otherwise, the overall song presentation is great.
Is It Worth The Money?
The Audioengine A1-MR is excellent value for money. Few bookshelf speakers in this price range offer the same type of performance, especially with their smaller size and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. The A1-MR can usually be purchased at just over $200, with the Bluetooth-only version often being available at under $200.
I feel the ideal use for these speakers is a small workstation or computer area where space may be limited but where one still listens. I’d have liked to see a remote control included, as you’ll need to adjust the volume on the speaker directly or on your phone.
What We Scored It
Build & Design
The Audioengine A1-MR is a compact bookshelf speaker with more volume and better clarity than you'd expect.
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